Monday, November 28, 2016

Better Education for Kids!

“Better Education for Kids!” Now, who does not want a better education for kids?

This was what I saw when I started to look at information about Better Education for NJ Kids. I started this research after reading a NY Post article that blamed the teacher’s union for the current NJ Pension crisis.

The NJEA...not the governor that has failed to fund the pension...not the hedge fund managers that have profited from the fees of managing the pension portfolios...not the legislators that have failed to hold the state accountable for honoring the commitment of Chapter 78 to make the required pension payments…

Looking at the B4KNJ website, their section about teachers makes this claim:

Research has shown that no in-school factor – not class size, not school attended, not facilities has a greater impact on student performance than a great teacher, and we believe that every New Jersey student should have the opportunity to learn from a great teacher.

So, am I to believe that if you put the best teacher in a room of 30 students within a rundown classroom with little resources that this teacher will be able to create miraculous results and achieve success with every student in the class? After all, this is the best teacher, right?

Their website also states:

Put simply, our teachers are the single most important part of the NJ public education system, and it is inconceivable that any significant reform could occur without due regard for teachers and the teaching profession.

Ask classroom teachers what reforms they really want to see in the classrooms. It will not be the reforms that B4KNJ are promoting. Teachers want a reduction in paperwork (SGOs = nightmare), a decoupling of standardized tests and teacher evaluations (Refuse PARCC!), access to resources, teacher-led professional development, a collaborative work environment, a stake in decision making processes and policy decisions, protection of tenure to be able to advocate for their students, small class sizes, and the freedom to make curriculum and instructional decisions.

Instead, this is how B4KNJ wants to improve the NJ Education system

1 - Teach NJ - including “value added measures”

2 - Align Personnel Policies with Teacher Performance - merit pay and stripping of teacher tenure

3 - Empower Principals and Hold Them Accountable for Excellence in Their Schools - extension of TeachNJ for principals, holding them accountable for the performance of others that includes factors that are not under their control

B4KNJ focuses only on teachers as the main target for reform - again emphasizing the point that if a great teacher is in front of every classroom, then nothing else will matter.

And where does B4KNJ want to recruit good teachers from? Why Teach for America of course!

Furthermore, we must expand opportunities for the recruitment of non-traditional teaching candidates such as outstanding college students (via programs like Teach For America)...

Here is a breakdown of the people behind B4KNJ who proclaim to want what is best for kids in NJ.

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From there, I started researching some of the people involved in B4KNJ.

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Better Education for Kids NJ is not really new on the scene, but they seem to be rearing their ugly head again in the education reform scene. Most recently, this was evidenced in Jersey City where their mailings for the Jersey City School Board race must have cost a pretty penny.

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I urge you to read some of the past history so you can become educated about this reform group.

Additional interesting information:

Starting to dig deeper into the financial hedge fund companies that surround David Tepper some connections were noted:

Connection of Appaloosa Management to Palomino Fund, based in the tax-exempt Cayman Islands.

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